Avion Ultra: Arrival
The trip down to Florida was relatively uneventful. Aside from 2 hour delays due to traffic through Atlanta, everything was pretty much according to plan. We arrived shortly before midnight. Without a shell, we checked into a hotel.
The next morning, we wake to a phone call: someone bought the camper through an eBay listing. Cowboy sighs. We have already driven 12 hours to see the camper. We will be there in an hour. We’ll take a look at the camper and see what to do from there.
The approach is a well used and even dirt road. Behind a chain link fence and through a tunnel of trees is the physical distillation of one man’s passion. Classic trucks and campers fill the yard surrounding a large, homemade workshop-garage. Towering behind the workshop is a two story wood plank house also built by the owner. It is a yard of passion projects in progress. But directly in front of us is a project that we want to take on: the Avion.
It takes us five minutes to buy the camper. It takes us five hours to load it on the truck.
We walk around the outside of the camper. We prod about on the inside. We look at each other and nod. It needs work, but we expect that. It smells like what it is: a 47-year-old camper. But the aluminum exterior looks solid and the interior will do…for now.
Now, to get the camper on the back of the truck. First, we have to raise the camper to the height of our truck bed. It takes a while. Yet, I don’t consider our struggles raising the camper to the height of the truck bed as an indicator of the challenges to come. The camper sits on three jacks, not four. That means that one jack is responsible for the full weight of one side. So, of course, that is the jack that shears its pin. We can’t move it up or down until the pin is replaced. So the day went: pull forward. Pull backward. A little higher. A little lower. An infinite permutation of adjustments to compensate for an old design, worn jacks, and uneven ground. Fortunately, the seller calls in a friend. Between the four of us, (but mainly the seller, he was all help and improvisation) we have the camper in place and strapped down as best we can.
We are ready for the road!